Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are Design Engineers actually engineers?

A: Our current Design Engineers are DMUSD educators with specialized training and experience to facilitate, or engineer, Design Thinking experiences for students and teachers. They are not certified engineers in the traditional sense of the word..

Q. Will Design Thinking be used all the time at school?

A: Not all learning experiences and standards are suited for Design Thinking challenges, such as developing a conceptual understanding of place value in mathematics. Some elements of the process, like ideating and empathy, may fit naturally throughout the school day, including opportunities for social and emotional learning.

Q. Does Design Thinking work with all school subjects?

A: Social Studies and Science standards tend to fit most naturally with the Design Thinking process, but it can be used in other school subjects, too. Other standards such as informational writing might fit as sub-objectives or may be best practiced through a different method of learning altogether. In addition, it can be used for campus dialogues, such as how to ensure all students are having fun at recess.

Q. What can I expect my child to bring home as evidence of Design Thinking at school?

A: We anticipate that empathy, enthusiasm and increased curiosity will be the first indications that your child has experienced Design Thinking at school! Beyond that, you might see prototypes, research, or photos of a project on an authorized social media post. You'll start to see more diverse learning opportunities, and your child demonstrating their learning through new approaches. Perhaps what was once an essay now becomes a blog post, or a poster turns in to a 3D replication of a concept.

Q. Does my child have any say during the Design Thinking process?

Student voices drive Design Thinking in school. The DMUSD Design Thinking process begins with student thinking and empowers students to use personal strengths and ideas to identify and solve real world challenges while applying common core standards.

Q. As a parent, how can I support my child in the Design Thinking process?

Give your child opportunities to engage in problem solving. Talk to them about issues in the community and let them voice their observations and input. Additionally, we value the variety of professional experiences represented by our parent community and we would appreciate parents lending their expertise with Design Thinking instruction in the classroom. This can best be done by completing the "Get Involved" survey on our website.

Q. Will my student receive a Design Thinking grade?

No. Design Thinking is not a separate subject; it is a creative problem solving process, just one of many methods used for standards-based teaching and learning in DMUSD.

Q. Will Design Thinking prepare my child for college and a career?

A: The present and futures of school and work are rapidly changing and will require students to continually adapt, to be creative, and to be resilient. Educational institutions are scrambling to adapt for the future world of work. The once tried and true careers of accountants, doctors, and pharmacists are being disrupted by technology. Design Thinking cultivates a sense of purpose and the skills that matter most, all essential for success in gaining credentials for newly relevant careers transformed by technology.

Q. Will the Design Engineers be teaching the students directly, or guiding the teachers? How much time will be spent at each school?

Both approaches will be used. At times, the Design Engineers will be modeling the Design Thinking process by directly teaching the students. However, these lessons will always be based on planning sessions occurring with the teacher before the lesson. As the teacher develops more experience and confidence with the elements of Design Thinking, the Design Engineers will spend more time crafting the experiences ahead of time with the teachers, and supporting the teachers as they provide the instruction and facilitate the learning. There is no exact formula of how much time the Design Engineer will spend at each school each week. It varies based on the work taking place. Each Design Engineer supports four schools, and has been at multiple school sites every day. It averages to about a day a week per school, but fluctuates as needed.